Cooking: Butter Cookies

Michael Pollan, author of the Food Rules, once stated that you should eat anything you cannot be bothered with cooking from scratch. ; His point is that most bad for you foods have quite a bit of hassle in cooking them, so most people will not want to go through the hassle. ; Store bought cookies, for example, are easy. ; Making them from scratch is not easy so therefore cookies become a special treat.

Makes sense to me. The other night we really wanted cookies. ; I decided to try my hand at butter cookies. ; I mean, if you are going to cheat, then cheat.

Ingredients: ; Stick unsalted butter softened, ¾ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon Mexican Vanilla, 1 egg, 2 cups all purpose flour, ½ baking powder, pinch of salt, ¼ cup of milk (more if needed.)

Process: ; I creamed the sugar and the butter slowly and then added the egg and the vanilla. ; In a separate bowl, I mixed dry ingredients, then added half to the dough, and then beat it for a couple of seconds. ; Then the same procedure is done with the other half. ; I baked them at 375 for about 13 minutes. ; This recipe is from How to Cook Everything.

Results: ; The recipe said it makes about 2-3 dozen. ; Unless the recipe meant teaspoon instead of tablespoon when doling out to the cookie sheet, I could only produce about a dozen and half. ; The flavor was nice and buttery but a little dry. ; ;It reminded me of the tea cookies. ; ; ; In addition, the recipe allows for extra spices, and I think I should have added a little cinnamon and sugar especially at the top.

Butter Cookies

Butter Cookies

Verdict: ; ; This recipe is decent starter cookie recipe that begs for experimentatio

Watching: Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives Movie Poster

Forks Over Knives Movie Poster (Via IMDB.com)

A raw food vegan friend of mine recently encouraged me to watch the documentary Forks Over Knives.  The movie can be described a bizzaro version of Super Size Me in that by eating a whole food plant diet the direct losing weight and blood work shows that this eating style has erased all the bad numbers he used to have.  It does make a compelling argument. Continue reading

Healing: Slimming Down

I’m sorry for the lack of blogging lately. I would like to blame it on the fact that I’ve been cooking more. I really have, and our shrinking waistlines are the proof of that. However, that really isn’t the reason. I would like to blame our more active lifestyle especially since I consider Tiger Woods for the Wii as being active. I could blame the start of school, but while I work hard I don’t work nearly that hard. No, the lack of posts lately has been due to just good ole laziness. Not that laziness is such a bad thing.

However, this blog hasn’t totally left my mind. It just left my to do list. In the absence of writing I’ve been wondering what to write about. This blog actually started as  one in which I learn how to cook. It then grew to more of a food blog, then a travel blog, then basically just stuff we like to do. And getting our health back under control has been the thing we like to do the most lately.

We have both lost a good deal of weight since the honeymoon. Of course, people are asking what diet we are on. We aren’t dieting. We are following Michael Pollan’s advice in The Defense of Food: Eat food. Less of it. Mostly Plants.

The eating less and mostly fruits and vegetables are the parts of that philosophy that are easy to understand. However, most people I talk to about this don’t really understand the “Eat food” part. Unfortunately, most of the food in the supermarket aisles are just really well done chemical experiments done to corn. We try to only shop at farmers markets, side of the road vegetable stands, and the walls of the supermarket. We read ingredients. Now, this causes to eat things that most dieters would never dream of eating. If I’m making an almandine sauce, I’m going to use butter. Real full of fat butter. I don’t make it that often. You won’t find margarine or something that is “not butter” (whatever in the world that is) in our fridge.

We do make some exceptions.  We have limited freezer space so I usually buy some things already made such as tomato sauce.  Also, we buy dried pasta.  Of course, we buy whole grain pasta.  We try not to eat canned vegetables, yet we make an exception for beans since beans take so long to cook.  However, we aren’t perfect. Processed mac and cheese is a guilty pleasure for both of us.  And, we aren’t apologizing for it.

As for eating less, we measure and weigh almost everything. If I can, I do this right when we get home and then freeze it. If buy meat for a pasta, I weigh the meat and freeze them as two serving sizes so we avoid the temptation to get seconds. We do the same thing with the pasta itself, we only cook the serving size making our food scale one of our most used kitchen appliances. We also load it up with onions, celery, olives, mushrooms and other vegetables to make it have more volume and satisfy our hunger.  Also, I can make this in the time it takes me to get to Wendy’s and back and much less time than it takes for a pizza to be delivered.

As for eating plants, it’s not hard to find beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables that we like. Also, it’s not hard to hide vegetables. We both got the idea of putting spinach and other greens in our smoothies from two different sources. Also, there is a certain amount of fun in going to the farmers market, buying a vegetable you never ate before, searching for a recipe and hoping it is good. In fact, we treat it like an adventure.

You can definitely see Cristina's 13 lb loss and Kurt's 22 lb loss in this picture, taken at Kurt's 20th high school reunion on August 20, 2011.